Valley Fever (Coccidioidomycosis) is a fungal disease caused by Coccidioides immitis or Coccidioides posadasii, which are fungal species endemic in areas of Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, and northern Mexico. Other names for the disease include "cocci" (kok-see), "California Fever," "desert rheumatism," and "San Joaquin Valley Fever."
C. immitis resides in the soil in the US Southwest (e.g., California and Arizona) and Mexico, as well as parts of Central America and South America. The fungus is dormant during long dry periods. When rains arrive, it then develops into a mold having long filaments, which break apart becoming airborne spores.
The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) documents a 900% increase in reported cases of Valley Fever in endemic area during the period from 1998 to 2011. The number of annually reported Valley Fever cases spiked from about 2,000 to over 24,000 in a little more than a decade.
Some of the dramatic rise in Valley Fever cases probably relates to better reporting practices and more reliable testing methods. For example, it was not until 2008 that the CSTE (Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists) case definition was revised to include cases with a single positive serologic result. And it wasn't until 2010 that coccidioidomycosis became laboratory-reportable in California.
Still, the growth trend in reported cases of Valley Fever is alarming. The rise in diagnoses indicates how much larger the scope of the problem is than previously was known. For example, cases that were once left unreported or even misdiagnosed as pneumonia are more often now being properly diagnosed and reported.
Global warming notably has resulted in increasingly dry conditions in the US Southwest favoring the spread of C. immitis. Higher temperatures boost evaporation rates, thereby drying soils. In addition to drought, increasing atmospheric instability has led to increasing numbers of dust storms (including severe dust storms and haboobs) in Arizona (e.g., Phoenix and Yuma), New Mexico, and Texas. Such intense storms dramatically increase the spread of airborne particulates, including the spores known to cause Valley Fever.
C. immitis spores, also known as arthroconidia, become airborne whenever soil is disturbed. Activities and events disturbing soil include construction, agriculture, digging, high winds, dust storms, and earthquakes. In addition, rapid growth urban areas with high population density produce greater levels of ground disturbance (which along with other factors) adversely affect rates of incidence. Thus, Maricopa County, Arizona (including the city of Phoenix) has a surprisingly high Valley Fever incidence of about 1 in 1,125 (measured in 2007). In contrast, southern New Mexico has a ten to twenty times lower incidence rate despite also being a region where Valley Fever is endemic.
As suggested by Kenneth K. Komatsu, the state epidemiologist for Arizona, urban sprawl is a major factor because essentially you are "digging up rural areas where Valley Fever is growing in the soil" (see "A Disease Without a Cure Spreads Quietly in the West"). 13,000 cases were reported in Arizona alone in 2012. In addition, incidence rates are considered low as most cases are not reported (ADD).
Arthroconidia, as fungal spores typically produced by segmentation of pre-existing fungal hyphae (i.e., branched filamentous structures collectively known as a mycelium), are generally not as environmentally persistent as other types of spores (e.g., bacterial endospores). Nevertheless, C. immitis and C. posadasii remain medically significant pathogens due to increasingly high transmission rates of Valley Fever.
INHALATION AND INFECTION OF VALLEY FEVER SPORES
Spores causing Valley Fever are light-weight and are easily inhaled when airborne. Infections are caused by inhalation of particulate matter containing the spores. Valley Fever cannot be transmitted from person to person.
While C. immitis grows as a mycelium in soil, it produces a spherule form after it infects an individual. That is, upon lodging in the lungs' alveoli, arthroconidia grow becoming spherules that develop internal septations (septated spherule). These septations form endospores. Eventual rupture of spherules release endospores, which ultimately repeat the cycle and spread the infection within the body.
Nodules may form in the lungs around a spherule. When a spherule ruptures, it can release its contents into bronchi, thereby forming thin-walled cavities. Such cavities can result in symptoms including chest pain, hemoptysis, and/or persistent cough. Also, infection can spread into the bloodstream (fungemia) in immunocompromised persons.
Fortunately, in most cases, infection with Valley Fever resolves, thereby leaving the patient with immunity to re-infection. Yet, in certain cases, infection may occur repeatedly or even become permanent.
A healthy lifestyle, diet, nutrition, and supplementing with foundational supplements and immune-fortifying formulas can greatly boost the health of the body and strengthen its immune system. When the body and its immune system are kept strong, there is not only a greater chance that an individual will avoid Valley Fever, but also a correspondent reduction of its impact upon health if or when the body contracts it.
VALLEY FEVER SIGNS & SYMPTOMS
Symptomatic infections represent just 40% of cases. Valley Fever symptoms are typically flu-like. They may include fever, cough, headaches, and rashes, as well as pains in muscles and joints.
Some patients fail to recover and develop chronic pulmonary infection or widespread "disseminated" (i.e., systemic) infection possibly affecting the meninges, soft tissues, joints, and/or bones. Not surprisingly, individuals who are immunocompromised are more susceptible to the systemic form of the infection.
As noted, most individuals infected experience no symptoms or consequences. However, serious complications can occur when patients have weakened immune systems. These complications include severe pneumonia, lung nodules, and systemic infection (as noted above). In fact, the systemic form of Coccidioidomycosis can severely damage the body, and cause skin ulcers, abscesses, bone lesions, swollen joints, heart inflammation, and other problems like meningitis.
AVOIDANCE AND PREVENTION OF VALLEY FEVER
The best way to avoid contracting Valley Fever is to prudently avoid the spores that cause it. This might mean avoiding digging in the desert. For example, use caution while preparing garden beds or doing other types of yard work (e.g., while digging ditches for laying pipe or irrigation hoses). Also, avoid being outside during periods of high winds, especially in areas where there a large amount of ground disturbance (e.g., near construction sites). This includes using prudence when exercising (e.g., running, biking, hiking) during dust storms, times of high winds, and especially in dust-prone, wind-swept areas.
Currently, recommended measures to prevent exposure to the spores causing Valley Fever include respirator protection for persons engaged in agriculture, construction and others working outside in the endemic areas. Dust control measures such as planting grass and wetting the soil, and also limiting exposure to dust storms are advisable for residential areas in endemic areas.
FOR PREVENTION & RECOVERY: MAINTAIN STRONG IMMUNITY
Beyond avoiding contact with the spores that cause Valley Fever, it is vitally important to maintain a strong immune system. A strong immune system can ward off or mitigate symptoms even when the body contracts Valley Fever. Not maintaining a strong immune system can lead to full blown symptoms, illness, debilitation, and other health consequences relating to inadequate immunity (e.g., the potential for developing other health conditions). In rare cases, Valley Fever and its complications can be fatal.
Basic means for maintaining a strong immune system include proper diet, exercise, rest, and positive outlook. I will deal with a few of these basic means in greater depth below. However, the focus of this article will primarily be on dietary supplements and their role in protecting the body from Valley Fever and its effects.
A SUGGESTED PROGRAM FOR AVOIDING AND/OR MITIGATING VALLEY FEVER
One of the most basic elements for creating and maintaining optimal health is proper diet (see Rejuvenation Program). There is, in fact, no single "proper" diet for everyone. The optimal diet for an individual will depend on many factors, including age, gender, activity level, exposures to environmental toxins, food sensitivities and/or allergic responses, stress levels, blood type, genetics, and many other factors. Indeed, an optimal diet for a given individual changes over time.
That said, we recommend a varied diet high in vegetables (including greens) that provides plenty of raw foods, high-quality proteins, fiber, and complex carbohydrates (e.g., organic vegetables and fruits instead of refined, processed, and/or packaged foods). We highly recommend consuming foods that have been grown using organic and/or biodynamic methods. This helps to reduce exposure to pesticides and other agrochemicals, as well as genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
CORNERSTONES OF HEALTH: FOUNDATIONAL SUPPLEMENTS
High-quality foods and a healthy diet are the basis for good health. Consuming a healthy diet, therefore, is one the first lines of defense in maintaining both health and a strong immune system that can successfully ward off diseases like Valley Fever.
Today, however, even a so-called "good" diet often does not provide adequate nutrition to keep a person healthy. There are many reasons that diet cannot typically provide all the nutrients required for optimal health. One set of reasons revolves around the fact that our food supply is compromised. These include 1) Depletion of soils over time (and the failure to re-plete them with nutrients), 2) the rise of industrial agriculture that both depletes the soil and poisons it with a cocktail of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and chemical fertilizers, 3) the prevalence of (and contamination of the foods supply by) genetically modified foods (GMOs) that have never been proven safe (and which studies are now showing to be harmful to health), 4) the addition of toxic additives (e.g., preservatives) to certain foods, 5) Processing and practices (such as radiation of foods) that reduce viability and nutritional value. This list could go on.
For these reasons, we at HPDI first recommend the use of four specific types of foundational supplements. The foundational supplements we recommend are: 1) a High-Potency Multivitamin providing high-quality forms of nutrients (e.g., coenzyme vitamins; minerals in Kreb cycle form like malates), 2) Super Antioxidant Formulas (that include vitamin C and Nrf2 activators) (like Ultimate Protector™ or PRO-C™), 3) Essential Fats (providing a balanced ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids), 4) High-RNA Superfoods, especially the Rejuvenate!™ line of superfoods we have formulated for to provide therapeutic levels of dietary nucleic acids.
People sometimes ask us to offer supplement recommendations to improve their health. We have always started with the four foundational supplements. Even if a person takes no other supplements beyond these four types, they typically report better health. The reason is simple: improved nutrition equals improved health. Too often, we see individuals trying a few types of vitamins, some amino acids, a few herbs, etc. This represents an incomplete approach because it fails to address the underlying need for consistent intake of high levels of basic nutrients for which most diets do not provide.
In contrast to a seemingly random approach relying on a few targeted nutrients, we often see a "shotgun" approach in which a person attempts to take an extremely wide variety of supplements they have heard can improve their specific problem or to boost general health. This may be better than taking few (or no) supplements, but unless the body's need for truly essential nutrients is met, a wider variety of different types of supplements may not produce optimal results.
Foundational supplements cover all the basic needs of the body. In nearly all cases, it is only after the body's requirements for basic health are met that we begin to suggest "Enhancement" supplements that can take health to the next level (so to speak) or condition-specific supplements (e.g., Joint Health Formula) formulated to focus on the health of particular organ or body system.
For purposes of keeping the body strong in order to protect it against Valley Fever or mitigate its effects, foundational supplements remain the starting point, and by themselves will help create a high level of health.
HPDI FOUNDATIONAL SUPPLEMENTS SYSTEM (Select One of Each Type):
1) MULTIVITAMINS (Select One):
Mighty Multi-Vite! (caps)
Multi Two (tabs or caps)
2) ESSENTIAL FATS (Select One):
3) SUPER ANTIOXIDANT FORMULAS (Select One):
4) REJUVENATE!™ SUPERFOODS (Select One):
Rejuvenate!™ (original greens)
Rejuvenate! superfoods are the first superfoods formulated specifically to provide high levels of dietary nucleic acids. Dietary nucleic acids are associated with a wide range of health benefits, including greater energy (ATP) production in the body, higher tissue oxygenation, physical rejuvenation, improved stamina/endurance, cardiovascular benefits, and greater longevity and quality of life. Click here to see our Rejuvenate! Product Comparison page.
After having selected one of each of the four types of foundational formulas (including one Rejuvenate!™ superfood), you will be on your way to establishing excellent basic health. When all four types of foundational supplements are consumed daily (along with a good diet), you will be providing your body with the nutrients it needs to create powerful health and to maintain it. If you are not taking all four types of foundational supplements, then consider adding the one(s) you are missing in order to fill this gap in nutrition. You will then start to experience the power of complete foundational nutrition for creating optimal health.
MORE ABOUT THE HPDI FOUNDATIONAL SUPPLEMENT SYSTEM
In the 25 years we have been in the nutritional supplement business, the vast majority of our experience shows foundational supplements truly are essential building blocks for establishing good health, as well as a point of departure on the journey toward greater health. These formulas are necessary to help to establish the excellent nutrition that subsequently acts as a base from which individuals can then discover and add additional (e.g., condition specific) formulas required for their best health. Yet, the journey always starts with the four types of foundational formulas.
PETS AND VALLEY FEVER
Pets like dogs and cats face risks for developing Valley Fever as great or greater than humans. Pets are closer to the ground. They may dig into soils and inhale dust stirred up by their digging or windborne particulate matter. Fortunately, similar methods for improving nutrition, immunity, and means for recovery can be employed to help pets avoid Valley Fever, or fight it after they have developed it. While here is no foolproof way to prevent Valley Fever in pets, avoiding the spores, as well as maintaining good nutrition and strong immunity are vitally important.
HPDI offers a range of foundational supplements for pets in its 2Docs line of pet nutritional formulas. These include Pet Mighty Multi (for large pets or small pets), Pet Antioxidant Formula, Essential Fats for Pets (for large or small pets), and Rejuvenate!™ For Pets. In addition to these important foundational formulas, any of the human supplement formulas recommended (below) can be given to pets to support prevention or recover from Valley Fever. In addition, we offer 2Docs' Cell Support For Pets, a unique formula for boosting cellular health in animals.
Visit our 2Docs page on IntegratedHealth.com to see the complete line of nutritional supplements for pets, including red line foundational supplements, blue line condition-specific formulas, and green-label superfoods (Rejuvenate!™ for Pets and Cell Support for Pets). 2Docs' pet formulas are designed by HPDI's formulator Hank Liers PhD and by Randy Aronson, VMD. 2Docs supplements are specifically designed to be the most effective, human-grade, pet formulas available.
Tips for keeping pets free from Valley Fever: 1) Avoid walking pets in open or undeveloped desert, 2) landscape your yard so there are groundcover plants and/or gravel/rocks (to minimize loose dirt and dust), 2) keep pets indoors during dust storms, and 3) discourage digging as the spores that cause Valley Fever can live up to one foot below the soil surface.
Immunity-building formulas are the most important supplements a person can take when seeking to prevent or mitigate the effects of a condition like Valley Fever. You can find our recommendations for immune-building supplements in our Master Rejuvenation Program. Important immunity building formulas include medicinal mushrooms (Immune-Assist™), Olive Leaf Extract, Echinacea, garlic (as a foods or supplemental form), Nascent Iodine, Vitamin D3 Plus, Astragalus, and others.
MEDICINAL MUSHROOMS: IMMUNE-ASSIST™
One of the most effective immune building supplements we recommend is Immune-Assist™. Immune-Assist™ contains a complex of six medicinal mushrooms containing polysaccharides providing a broad range of health benefits. This formula is a completely unique and new type of dietary supplement containing a combination of more than 200 different polysaccharides, derived from the enzymatic breakdown of complex organic plant material from six different species of medicinal mushrooms. These species include: Agaricus blazei, Cordyceps sinensis hybrid, Lentinula edodes (shiitake), Grifola frondosa (maitake), Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi), and Coriolus versicolor.
Recent scientific research has shown that medicinal mushrooms grown on vegetable sources (such as millet, rice bran, buckwheat, barley, etc.) enzymatically activate a process in which complex cross-linked polysaccharides from the vegetable sources convert to biologically active immunomodulators (known as biological response modifiers). The polysaccharides produced by this process are effective and safe immune stimulants.
Immune-Assist™ is similar to other mushroom-based polysaccharides in that it is formulated through an enzymatically activated process whereby complex cross-linked polysaccharides from vegetable sources are converted to biologically active immunomodulators composed of simpler sugars (such as arabinose and xylose). However, Immune-Assist™ offers significant advantages. While Immune-Assist™ contains simple polysaccharides, it also contains more complex polysaccharides, including cross-linked beta mannans and beta-glucans, and hetero-polysaccharides which combine both alpha-bound and beta-bound monosaccharides in the same molecule. These complex polysaccharide compounds are not found in earlier-generation, bran-based supplements like AHCC (Active Hexose Correlated Compound). This is the reason Immune-Assist™ shows such a greater range of immuno-modulation bioactivity than AHCC and other bran-based supplements.
This month (October 2013) Dr. Hank Liers posted an extensive blog entry on the topic of Immune Strengthening Using Medicinal Mushrooms. His article explains in detail about the beneficial effects on medicinal mushrooms. You may also be interested in our Immune-Assist™ Research Summary, which provides extensive information regarding this unique formula, and offers in-depth information regarding its uses.
Medicinal mushrooms offer unique and in many cases, unparalleled, benefits for building, re-building, and maintaining strong immune system health. Immune-Assist™ is just one such product, but due to the synergy provided by its effective combination of six different medicinal mushrooms.
OLIVE LEAF EXTRACT
Valley Fever sufferers (and individuals who wish to avoid it) can benefit from olive leaf extract. Certain extracts of olive leaf (calcium elenolate) provide significant benefits for human immunity. Olive leaf extract has a long history of use for combating illnesses in which microorganisms (including bacteria, viruses, parasites, yeast, mold, and fungi) play a role. Until 1995, however, olive leaf extracts played only a limited role for supporting the body's fight against such microorganisms due to the fact that a protein in human blood combined with the active molecule in olive leaf extract, consequently inactivating it. It was learned in 1995 that if the active molecule in olive leaf extract were rotated around a specific axis by a precise amount, then the protein in human blood no longer inactivated the molecule. This led to the development of significantly more effective olive leaf extracts for use in supporting immunity and health.
The newer, more effective form of olive leaf extract has been proven effective for use in many conditions, including herpes, Epstein Barr (and cytomegalo viruses), chlamydia, cholera, hepatitis (A, B, and C), malaria, measles, meningitis, rabies, tapeworm, salmonella, tuberculosis, staphylococcus, polio, vaginitis, thrush, strep throat, whooping cough, pneumonia, ringworm, bacillus cereus, and others. For individuals hoping to avoid Valley Fever, and for those suffering from it, taking an effective olive leaf extract supports the body's efforts to protect itself from fungal assault, and boost the immune system in ways that can help restore optimal health.
Many people report higher energy levels when using olive leaf extract. It has been shown to be extremely safe and non-toxic even in large doses. See Olive Leaf Extract by Dr. Morton Walker for further information on its effectiveness and full range of applications.
HPDI offers an Olive Leaf Extract formula that provides the most effective form of olive leaf extract.
THE SUNSHINE SUPPLEMENT: VITAMIN D3 PLUS
Many studies have proven the importance of Vitamin D3 for immune system health. Well beyond the important effects on calcium and bone metabolism, Vitamin D3 provides a host of other health benefits, including the capacity to modulate innate immune system responses. Amazingly, the vitamin D receptor is expressed on immune cells (B cells, T cells, and antigen presenting cells). It is well known that deficiency in vitamin D is associated with increased autoimmunity and increased susceptibility to infection.
Supplementing with vitamin D3 remains one of the best ways to improve vitamin D status in the body. Exposure to natural sunlight can help. However, during the winter months (and especially in northern latitudes) and/or with greater time spent indoors (e.g., in recovery), taking a high potency vitamin D3 supplement that provides at least 5,000 IU of vitamin D3 not only will support strong immunity, but will also provide many other health benefits that will support a program of prevention and/or recovery from Valley Fever.
HPDI offers a uniquely synergistic vitamin D formula, Vitamin D3 PLUS. The formula provides 5,000 IU of vitamin D3, as well as vitamin A, vitamin K2 (as menaquinone-7), vitamin E, and tocotrienols. Vitamin D3 PLUS is an advanced formula that is designed not only to be effective, but also to work well with HPDI foundational supplements and Rejuvenate!™ superfoods.
Read more about HPDI's Vitamin D3 PLUS. Also, see the Resources section below for articles and abstracts on the health benefits of vitamin D.
LIVER SUPPORT & MORE: HEPA PLUS
During times of illness, the body's detoxification organs are called upon to support healing and recovery, as well as perform all their normal duties. The liver is one of the primary organs of detoxification, and performs a myriad of other functions required for good health. We recommend maintaining good liver health through the use of a milk thistle formula. We especially recommend Hepa Plus, which is a full-spectrum liver support formula.
Valley Fever taxes many different organ systems, especially when it becomes a systemic infection or persists actively for long periods of time. Hepa Plus can provide support for the liver and its functions, which are critically important for health, and especially when the body is challenged to defend itself from a fungal infection like Valley Fever.
Hepa Plus contains milk thistle (Silybum marianum) extract standardized to greater than 80% silymarin, dandelion root extract 4:1, alpha lipoic acid, n-acetyl-l-cysteine (NAC), thiamin diphosphate (cocarboxylase), ornithine alpha-ketoglutarate, glycine, taurine, and the minerals molybdenum and selenium.
Extensive research has shown that silymarin (the major component of milk thistle extract) exerts both a protective and a restorative effect on the liver and can stimulate the growth of new liver cells to replace old, damaged cells. Studies have shown that dandelion root enhances the flow of bile, improving such conditions as liver congestion, bile duct inflammation, hepatitis, gallstones, and jaundice.
Lipoic acid is an important nutrient that enhances metabolism, acts both as a water-soluble and fat-soluble antioxidant, and is a toxic metal chelator (including chelation of free iron, copper, cadmium, mercury, and lead). Thiamin diphosphate is a coenzyme form of Vitamin B1 and is especially helpful for impaired liver function.
NAC is an effective nutrient for increasing liver concentrations of glutathione—a critically important antioxidant in the liver. Glycine and taurine play important roles in Phase II liver detoxification pathways. Ornithine plays a key role in the urea cycle and allows the liver to eliminate the buildup of toxic levels of ammonia. Molybdenum and selenium are essential minerals for the synthesis of enzymes that support liver detoxification.
When used in conjunction with Ultimtate Protector™ formula (one of our foundational supplements), potent support is provided for nearly all important liver detoxification processes. Individuals who are suffering from Valley Fever can benefit from a liver support formula that simultaneously protects the liver, supports its function, and keeps the most important detoxification organ healthy.
Visit the Hepa Plus product page to learn more about it.
PROBIOTICS & PREBIOTICS: PRESCRIPT-ASSIST™
Prebiotics and probiotics play significant roles supporting immune system function and health. While we do not include probiotic formulas as part of our foundational supplement system, we suggest they be taken regularly for optimal health. When dealing with a serious illness, such as Valley Fever, it is important to provide the body with a good probiotic formula.
The formula we recommend most highly is Prescript-Assist™, which is a broad spectrum probiotic and prebiotic formula. Prescript-Assist provides 29 strains of symbiotic soil-based organisms (SBOs) supporting the body's natural intestinal balance.
For the purpose of supporting the body in dealing with Valley Fever, the primary benefits of taking a broad spectrum probiotic & prebiotic formula relate to modulation of the immune system. However, there are many other benefits to taking a high-quality probiotic formula. Benefits reported from probiotics include 1) relief of stress, anxiety, and depression, 2) mood improvement via gut-brain signaling, 3) protection against free radicals, 4) anti-inflammatory properties, 5) improvement of glucose tolerance, 6) reduction of upper respiratory tract infections, 7) allergy prevention, 8) cholesterol reduction, 9) beneficial effects in liver disease, and 10) other health benefits.
Additional health benefits of probiotics are being discovered as scientists come to understand more about how human microflora interact with soil-based organisms and other microflora in the environment. For more information about benefits of Prescript-Assist™ and other probiotic formulas, see my blog entry Prescript-Assist™ Broad Spectrum Probiotic & Prebiotic and Hank Liers entry, A New View of the Role of Bacteria in Health.
Read more about Prescript-Assist™ to learn how indispensable soil-based organisms (SBOs) can be for optimal health.
ADDITIONAL FORMULAS FOR VALLEY FEVER
Additional nutrients that may be helpful include Nascent Iodine (8-20 drops daily on an empty stomach), Echinacea (as drops or capsules), Digestive Enzymes / Digase (2–3 caps with each meal), Garlic (fresh or enteric coated tabs–4 tabs/day), Ancient Minerals Magnesium Oil (1/4 tsp 2–3 times daily in water), Myo-Mag (2–5 caps/day-provides magnesium & malic acid), Joint Health Formula – if experiencing joint problems (6–8 capsules daily), and Selenium from l-selenomethionine (200 mcg/day).
In most cases of Valley Fever, the immune system is severely depressed, which in turn may allow for other problems such as Candida albicans infections and food allergies. It is important to reduce as many immunological challenges as possible; to take supplements which help to rebuild the immune response and strengthen the body. It is also important detoxify the body as much as possible, and to make positive lifestyle changes in the diet, exercise, stress, relaxation, etc. (see suggestions below).
The Suggested Daily Supplement Schedule (see Table 1 below) should provide a solid starting point for building or rebuilding health. However, the table and the other suggestions in this article do not necessarily represent a comprehensive program for regaining your health. You may need to do further research on Valley Fever in order to find additional sources of information that can help you given your current health status and unique situation.
MORE DIETARY TIPS
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, a good diet is vitally important for good health. Here are a few more tips for maintaining a healthy diet.
Consume a varied diet that is relatively higher in leans proteins, complex carbohydrates, and fiber, as well as relatively lower in fats and simple carbohydrates. Avoid processed/refined foods. Eat organic vegetables, fruits, whole grains (e.g., brown rice, millet, and spelt), beans, nuts and seeds (chia, sunflower, flax, pumpkin, almond, walnut and sesame in small amounts.
Try eating Hank's Vegetable Soup several times a week. Try juicing fresh organic vegetables (e.g., carrots, celery, beets, parsley) using a juicer. Drinking 12–16 ounces of juice daily or at least a few times a week. You will see a noticeable difference in your health. Fresh juice also provides excellent nutrition for recovery and healing, and helps detoxify the body.
For non-vegetarians, good sources of lean proteins can include free-range organic meats (including beef and poultry) and small quantities of wild-caught fish (small fish are better because fish lower on the food chain tend to contain fewer toxins). Vegetarians can enjoy various high-protein organic grains (e.g., quinoa), seeds and nuts, organic (and/or raw) dairy, and limited quantities or organic, fermented soy (tempeh and tofu).
Avoid sweets (sugar), processed/refined foods (white bread and pasta), preservatives, and toxic food additives like artificial flavors and colors. Symptoms can be exacerbated by allergic reactions to the food you eat. Be observant to correlations between symptoms and the foods you have eaten. Drink purified water.
A FEW THINGS TO AVOID
Avoid exposure to chemicals such as cleaning solvents, pesticides, paints, hairsprays and toxic cosmetics, and cigarette smoke. Also, avoid excessive exposure to gasoline fumes and diesel soot, wood smoke, gas from kitchen ranges, etc.
Exercise is always important. As you've probably heard many times before, it's good for circulation of blood and lymph. It can help maintain functional strength, lung capacity, strong immunity, and brain function. Exercise also improves mood, quality-of-life, and longevity.
So be sure to get an adequate amount of exercise for you at least three times a week for 30 minutes or more. Walking, swimming, yoga, and tai chi are excellent forms of exercise. Listen to your body. Don't overdo exercise, yet work toward greater intensity levels.
If you are currently suffering from Valley Fever and are low in energy, then be sure only to do as much exercise as you can do reasonably. As you recover, you can increase your duration and/or intensity.
Also, it is good to practice relaxation and/or stress reduction techniques daily. These can include meditation, prayer, and/or deep breathing exercises (e.g., pranayama). If you already do yoga, tai chi, qi gong, or take walks in nature, then your relaxation techniques may be built into your exercise regimen.
TABLE 1. SUGGESTED DAILY SUPPLEMENT SCHEDULE FOR VALLEY FEVER
|Take with food or snacks|
|Essential Fats Plus E or Omega Plus||
|Take with food.|
|Mighty Multi-Vite – Multivitamin
Multi Two tabs
|Take with food.|
|Immune-Assist (immune-enhancing polysaccharides from organic mushroom extracts)||
|Take with food. Take 6 caps daily for 2 weeks and then reduce to 2 caps daily. For severe cases continue with 6 caps until well.|
|Olive Leaf Extract||
|Take between meals if possible.|
|Take with food.|
|Take between meals/as snack in 6-8 oz water or juice and/or fruit.|
|Vitamin D3 Plus (5,000 IU)||
|Take 2 softgels daily for 1 month and then reduce to 1 softgel daily.|
|Prescript-Assist – soil based probiotic||
|Take 1 capsule daily.|
SOURCES & RESOURCES FOR VALLEY FEVER
Valley Fever: Alternative Medicine (Valley-Fever.org)
Valley Fever Connections (Valley-Fever.org)
Systemic Mycoses: An Overview for Natural Health Professionals
(Dr. Robert Thiel); The Original Internist, Sept. 2010, Vol. 17 (3): 119–128
Hot, Dry Winds Help Spread Deadly Valley Fever Infections (video) (PBS NewHour)
Valley Fever: California's Silent Epidemic (NBC Bay Area)
HPDI BLOG ARTICLES
Immune Strengthening Using Medicinal Mushrooms – Hank Liers
Vitamin D3 – "Superstar"! – Hank Liers
A New View of the Role of Bacteria in Health – Hank Liers
Vitamin D Crucial to Activating Immune Defenses (Science Daily)
VALLEY FEVER AND PETS
Vitamin D and the Immune System (J Investig Med. 2011 August; 59(6): 881–886)
Probiotic Bacteria in the Human Gastrointestinal Tract as a Factor Stimulating the Immune System (Postepy Hig Med Dosw. 2009 Dec 23;63:653-67)
Cross-Talk Between Probiotic Bacteria and the Host Immune System (J Nutr. 2007 Mar;137(3 Suppl 2):781S-90S)
Probiotics: Effects on Immunity (Am J Clin Nutr. 2001 Feb;73(2 Suppl):444S-450S)